For the next three years, Sky Sports will broadcast at least two games each week, with:
- Up to 35 Regular Season matches
- Up to 12 Playoff matches
- Each game live in the best-of-seven NBA Finals
- And the annual mid season NBA All-Star Game in 2002, 03, 04
Sky Sports will be the exclusive live broadcaster of NBA basketball in the U.K. and Ireland. Regular season and playoff games will be shown live or tape-delayed on the following day with each game of the NBA Finals broadcast live.
Coverage will start on Saturday 26 January with the game between the Toronto Raptors and the Minnesota Timberwolves featuring Toronto’s Vince Carter and Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett, broadcast at 2.30pm on Sky Sports Extra.
The first live match will be the NBA All-Star Game, an annual event which showcases the best basketball stars in the world and their talents, broadcast on Sky Sports Extra from 10pm on Sunday 10 February from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The first live regular season game will see the Los Angeles Lakers with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant at the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday 17 February, shown live on Sky Sports Extra at 9.30pm.
The usual time slots for Regular Season games will be Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings on Sky Sports Extra.
Announcing the new deal, Vic Wakeling, Managing Director of Sky Sports said: “The NBA is renowned as one of the world’s greatest sports and in Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal it has two of the biggest sports stars. We can now promise Sky digital viewers access to its courts twice a week throughout the season and every step of the NBA Finals live.”
Heidi Ueberroth, Executive Vice President of Global Media Properties and Marketing Partnerships for the NBA, said: “We are thrilled about our partnership with Sky Sports to broadcast NBA programming to fans in the UK. Sky is a leader in the sports broadcasting industry and with this expanded exposure of NBA basketball in the UK, it will further the growth of the sport, while at the same time providing UK viewers with their taste of the greatest basketball action."
The matches currently scheduled are:
|Saturday 26 January||Toronto Raptors vs Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Saturday 2 February||Indiana Pacers vs New York Knicks|
|Saturday 9 February||Washington Wizards vs Sacramento Kings|
|Sunday 10 February||NBA All Star Game - LIVE|
|Saturday 16 February||Toronto Raptors vs Utah Jazz|
|Sunday 17 February||Portland Trail Blazers vs LA Lakers - LIVE|
|Saturday 23 February||Charlotte Hornets vs LA Lakers|
|Sunday 24 February||New York Knicks vs LA Lakers - LIVE|
|Saturday 2 March||Minnesota T’wolves vs San Antonio Spurs|
|Sunday 3 March||New York Knicks vs San Antonio Spurs|
|Saturday 9 March||Miami Heat vs Toronto Raptors|
|Sunday 10 March||LA Lakers vs New York Knicks - LIVE|
|Saturday 16 March||Atlanta Hawks vs Phoenix Suns|
|Sunday 17 March||Philadelphia 76ers vs Orlando Magic|
|Saturday 23 March||Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers|
|Sunday 24 March||Philadelphia 76ers vs New York Knicks - LIVE|
|Saturday 30 March||LA Lakers vs Portland Trail Blazers|
|Sunday 31 March||Washington Wizards vs Dallas Mavericks|
|Saturday 6 April||Utah Jazz vs Sacramento Kings|
|Sunday 7 April||Miami Heat vs L.A. Lakers|
|Saturday 13 April||Philadelphia 76ers vs Washington Wizards|
|Sunday 14 April||Orlando Magic vs Philadelphia 76ers|
The NBA Playoffs are scheduled to begin on April 20. The NBA Finals will begin either June 2 or June 5.
Since its founding in 1946, the NBA has become a global phenomenon that transcends national boundaries. British NBA player John Amaechi of the Utah Jazz, who was recently appointed by the National Literacy Trust in the UK as spokesperson for their Reading is Fundamental initiative, is one of 49 international players in the NBA. Michael Olowokandi of the Los Angeles Clippers (the number one pick in the 1998 NBA draft) is also a British player and was raised in the UK since he was four years old. According to the latest research from "Sport England", basketball is the second most popular team sport for young males.
With 29 teams in the United States and Canada, NBA games and related programming are broadcast to 210 countries in 42 languages. The NBA is one of the largest suppliers of sports television and Internet programming in the world. Through NBA Entertainment, the league’s award-winning production and programming division, the league produces NBA TV, a 24-hour television network, weekly television shows, and exclusive content for each of the NBA’s team web sites, and the league’s official sites, NBA.com and WNBA.com. The league has partnered with the leading Internet content and technology providers, including America Online, IBM, RealNetworks, USA Networks, and Yahoo! to bring the game experience even closer to its fans worldwide.